There is a Nashville-style knock-knock joke going around that lets you make any what-the-hell-ever-happened-to country singer of the past the punchline. Because Clint Black is hitting town, we'll use him. It goes like this: "Knock knock. Who's there? Clint Black. Clint Black who? Hmmmph, tough town." Nashville radio is known for chewing up its legends and spitting them out like soggy tobacco chaw after they get a little long in the tooth — Merle Haggard and George Jones haven't had hit singles in decades, and even the New Traditionalists who saved country from the Urban Cowboy-wave of pop country in the '80s are fading from memory, with Garth Brooks recently ending a three-year stint in Las Vegas and Alan Jackson's latest record offering up three singles, each one dying a wheezy death, like an old ranch mule, barely inside the Top 30. Clint Black was one of the New Traditionalists who rescued country when his 1989 debut album Killin' Time hit country radio with four number-one hard-country singles. Although Black hasn't recorded an album of new material since 2005, country music needs a few more Clint Blacks, honest-to-God country singers, and fewer preening, cowboy-hatted, tank-topped, wallet-chained jackasses populating this millennium's country charts.
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